The home favourite started the second run with an advantage of 0.38 seconds over the field following a blistering first run, and he was on course for glory half-way through his second run after extending his lead slightly in the opening section.
But his right ski then went the wrong side of one of the gates by the narrowest of margins, effectively handing the win to Germany's Felix Neureuther.
Hirscher realised what he had done immediately and stopped, before sidestepping his way back up to the missed gate and completing the course to a huge cheer from the thousands of spectators at the floodlit finale.
Neureuther was an easy winner, over half a second clear of Norway's Henrik Kristofferson, with Italy's Patrick Thaler coming in third.
- Sports & Recreation